City pulls graphic road safety ads

The city decided to pull a graphic series of ads after public and council backlash.

Good morning!

Well, last week was a bit of a false alarm. The baby has not yet arrived. But, it won’t be long. So, today will be my last newsletter for a little while. Wednesday, Charlie Senack will be back, this time for a planned, orderly transition to take over the Lookout for a little while while I’m gone.

You’ll be in good hands, Charline has been working in local journalism for quite a while, and he’s a good egg.

I’d say I’ll miss you all in my absence, but I’ll probably be too tired to know any better.

Before I go, I’d like to thank the very many of you who donated to Team Nancy for this year’s Ovarian Cancer Walk of Hope. Lookout readers have helped me raise $1,800, and our team more than $8,000.

Sunday was the walk itself, and it made for a lovely day for a trot around Andrew Haydon Park. All of us want to thank you so much for your support!

Team Nancy at the walk. Robert Hiltz/Ottawa Lookout

If you’d still like to help out, donations are still being accepted for the next few days. You can donate here. All of the money goes to Ovarian Cancer Canada to help fund research and other initiatives across the country to fight this disease.

Let’s get to the newsletter.

— Robert Hiltz, managing editor

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City backtracks on graphic ad campaign

City of Ottawa/Handout

What happened: The city backed down and decided to pull a graphic ad that blamed pedestrians for being killed when they are hit by a car crossing mid block. In a memo to council, public works general manager Alain Gonthier said, “Given the concerns with the use of the “jaywalking” terminology, those test ads have been pulled.”

  • “The intent of the road safety campaign that is being developed is trying a different approach to get the message across and is not to lay blame on any one party or individual. It is a recognition that all users have a shared responsibility if we are to achieve reductions in fatalities and major injuries on our roadways,” Gonthier said.

The use of the word “jaywalking” was not the issue, as the city is trying to assert. The issue was the premise of the ads. As a representative example Coun. Ariel Troster, who asked staff to pull the ads never mentioned “jaywalking,” and said:

Broader campaign: The ad was part of a new campaign that graphically illustrates a number of behaviours that can lead to death on the roadway. Drinking and driving, texting and driving, running red lights, and so on. The city ran them as ads on social media platforms, where in an earlier memo Gonthier said staff were testing several variations to see which were the most effective.

  • On Saturday it seemed as though the city would keep running the ads in this test, but pulled the plug a day later after pushback from the public and several councillors.

The history of ‘jaywalking’: The term “jaywalking” is the creation of an aggressive campaign by automakers in the 1920s to clear pedestrians off the streets to make way for cars, Vox reported. Before the campaign succeeded in making crossing the road a crime, drivers in the city were responsible for stopping for pedestrians. The campaign was kicked off after residents of Cincinnati, Ohio tried to pass a ballot measure to mechanically limit cars to speeds of 25 mph (40 km/h) within the city.

The Lookout’s view: The heart of the matter is that vehicles are getting bigger and more dangerous than ever (to everyone but their passengers), while the human body is as fragile as it’s always been. In a city like Ottawa that prioritizes cars over pedestrians — ever try to get a prompt walk signal across a busy street, forget it being prompt — ads like these come across as a thumb in the eye from the city to citizens it tends to ignore.

  • A more effective “vision zero” plan would be to make streets safer for pedestrians by giving them more places to cross safely and slowing traffic down.


🧢 15: The anniversary local streetwear brand Raise By Wolves is celebrating this year. Designer Cal Green has earned four straight Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards nominations for his work. [CBC]

🏡 $709,739: The average price for a single-family home in the city in August, up only 0.5 percent ($2,027) from July. [CTV]

🚮 60,000: The amount of trash, in tonnes, the city will send to private landfills to extend the life of the city-run Trail Road Waste Facility. The city will pay $8 million per year to send the garbage elsewhere. [CTV]


(Some) double trains returning to LRT tracks

What happened: OC Transpo will expand the number of trains on the LRT line and add some double-car trains to keep up with customer demand, the city said in a memo. Describing it as “an enhancement to rail service,” only a few of the trains will be running at their designed length, and all of them will continue their low-speed runs to protect their fragile components.

  • The city will also end express buses from Tunney’s Pasture to downtown because it says not enough people are taking them. The buses from Blair to downtown stops will continue.

Summer of troubles: Since the summer multi-week shutdown, OC Transpo has run trains at half length and slower to keep them from breaking down. While it has 33 trains available to run, only 13 to 17 single-car trains are on the track at any one time. If the system was working properly, it could run 15 double-car trains with several in reserve, CBC reported.

It’s not clear how many double-car trains will run through the day, but they will be deployed at peak periods to help relieve pressure on the system. Transit general manager Renée Amilcar said the agency expects this will keep up demand for transit.


Check out the new open positions in Ottawa.

  1. Translator at PSAC

  2. Registered dental hygenist at Parkdale Dental Centre

  3. Health services research officer at Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health

  4. Public health inspector at Ottawa Public Health

  5. Public relations manager at BlackBerry

Local jobs are selected by the Lookout team and are not paid ads, unless specifically noted.


🚑 This summer a homeless woman gave birth outside an encampment in Gatineau. The city’s mayor, France Bélisle, is asking the Quebec government to increase funding for cities to help with the homelessness crisis, and said property taxes are no longer enough to keep up with the challenge. [CBC]

⚖️ The judge hearing the trial of Tamara Lich and Chris Barber, two convoy leaders facing multiple charges, had harsh words for Crown prosecutors about their delay in disclosing to the defence what parts of the evidence they will be focusing on at trial. The judge warned the trial could last much longer than its scheduled four weeks. [The Canadian Press]

🏗️ The architect Raymond Moriyama, who died recently at the age of 93, was the visionary behind the Canadian War Museum. He also designed Ottawa City Hall, and helped with the restoration of other buildings around the city. [CBC]

🚨 No one was injured in a shooting Sunday in the Lincoln Heights neighbourhood. Police were called for gunshots and found bullet casings, but no victims. [CTV]

💐 Monique Bégin, a feminist pioneer from Quebec and federal health minister when the Canada Health Act was passed, died last week in Ottawa at the age of 87. [CBC]

🪫 Electric vehicle drivers travelling between Ottawa and Montreal on the 417 have few charging stations along the way. There are only 16, with 11 of them in either Hawkesbury or Casselman. [CBC]

🏚️ A uOttawa student residence built in 1987 and abandoned in 2018 because of mould, is costing the university thousands, sometimes tens of thousands, of dollars a month in electricity costs. The university has no plan for the building, and has about 100 students on a waitlist for residence spaces. [CBC]


What to do this weekend


🎸 Beatles vs. Stones, Saturday: An epic night of two coverbands, as Capital Beatles and Goat’s Head Soup play back to back for a night of great music. At Bar Robo, 170 Queen St. Tickets start at $28.

🎻 OperOttawa’s Suor Angelica, Sunday: An updated interpretation of the classic Puccini opera, Angelica faces the guilt of her unwanted pregnancy amidst the religious beliefs and scorn of her class-mates, school staff and her wealthy aunt. At First Baptist Church, 140 Laurier Ave. Tickets start at $28.


🪑 C*4 presents WALKING THE EDGE, Friday: A new season of professional wrestling in the city kicks off this week, with appearances by “Walking Weapon” Josh Alexander, “Speedball” Mike Bailey, and Titus Alexander. Tickets $33 in advance, $40 at the door.


🍂 Harvest - A Feast of Fall, Saturday: A foodie fundraiser for YouTurn Youth Support Services. At All Saint Event Space, 330 Laurier Ave. Tickets $102.

🌶️ Heating Up the Capital, Saturday: Check out hot sauce from small batch makers from across the country. With a cash bar, food trucks and spicy food eating challenges. At the EY Centre, 4899 Uplands Dr. Tickets start at $19.


👟 Step Up For Hope, Saturday: Raising funds for cystic fibrosis in partnership with the Ottawa Hospital. It's a full day of dance and exercise being held at the Walter Baker Centre. Help raise money here.


🛠️ Last OTL Garage Sale for 2023, Saturday: Saturday is the last garage sale at the Ottawa Tool Library. Missing something from your workshop? Now’s the chance to find it. At 877a Boyd Ave. Free admission.

  • With the provincial Greenbelt in the news, the Ottawa Citizen digs deep into the past, present, and future of our city’s own greenbelt. [Ottawa Citizen]

  • One World Bazaar returns Sept. 28!

  • After a few weeks of unofficial opening, local dignitaries made it official with a ceremony inaugurating the William Commanda Bridge across the Ottawa River. [CTV]

  • The Renfrew Fair returned over the weekend, and that meant the return of the favourite bacon on a bun sandwich. [CTV]

  • Ottawa’s Michael Woods was the top Canadian at the Montreal Grand Prix cycling event on Sunday, finishing 15th, 54 seconds behind the winner, Britain's Adam Yates. [TVA Sports]

  • Emily Clark said she’s thrilled to be one of the first three players to be signed to Ottawa’s yet-to-be-named Professional Women’s Hockey League team. [CTV]

  • Want to have your announcement featured? Contact our partnership team for more info.


Joanne Reyes/Ottawa Lookout Reader

Today’s photo comes from reader Joanne Reyes, who sends in this great garden shot.

Do you have a photo you’d like to share with the Lookout community? Send it in!

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